Time magazine reports that more Americans are quitting their jobs. Backed up last week by a report from the United States Labor Department, where figures show the number of people applying for new unemployment benefits dropped to seven-month lows, there is some visible movement in the workforce.

According to the government data, in the first nine months of 2011, 17.3 million Americans left their jobs by choice, up 9% from last year. When more people begin quitting their jobs, economists generally agree that is typically a sign that the job market is improving.

Is the job market in the U.S. improving?

"We have lots of evidence that shows that higher quits is associated with a better labor market," says Steven Davis, a professor and labor economist at the University of Chicago.

An economist at the Center of American Progress, Heather Boushey, however, suggests there may be other indicators for the movement, primarily worker disatisfaction: "If you have been working under a boss that you hate since 2007, four years could be all you can handle. There's a lot of pent-up frustration."

Are Americans quitting because they have new jobs or are they just willing to take the risk because they've had enough?

The statistics from the Labor Department seem to suggest the former. Nevertheles, the U.S. still faces a 9% unemployment rate, so there is a long way to go to see significant improvement, but any movement at this point is positive. And, of course, the job outlook for the employed versus the unemployed is drastically different.
BlueSteps will be releasing data from an executive outlook for 2012 survey in early January. We will look at how confident executives are about the job market, and how many would be willing to make moves in 2012, not just in the U.S., but globally across regions and industries.

This article was written by Joe Chappell from the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).

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